Monday, September 14, 2015

A Wreath of Hummingbirds by Cathy Park Hong


A Wreath of Hummingbirds

I suffer a different kind of loneliness.
In the trilling ringtones of singing
wrens, cries of babies and ballad medleys,
my ears, already inured by buds,
turn to brass.
They resurrected a thousand extinct birds,
Emus, dodos, and shelducks, though some,
like the cerulean glaucous macaw,
could not survive the snow. How heavily
they roost on trees in raw twilight.
I will not admire those birds,
not when my dull head throbs, and I am plagued
by sorrow, a green hummingbird that eats me alive
with its stinging needle beak.
Then I meet you. Our courtship is fierce
in a prudish city that scorns our love,
as if the ancient laws of miscegenation
are still in place. I am afraid
I will infect you
after a virus clogs the gift economy:
booming etrade of flintlock guns sag.
Status updates flip from we are all
connected to we are exiles.
What bullshit
when in that same prudish city,
they have one exact word to describe the buried
shades of their sorrow, when they always sit together
and eat noodles during white
days of rain, always in one long table,
though not all
as a boy, my father used to trap
little brown sparrows, bury them in hot coal,
and slowly eat the charred birds alone
in the green fields, no sounds,
no brothers in sight.
Holiest are those who eat alone.
Do not hurt them, do not push them, insult them,
do not even stare at them, leave
them to eat alone, in peace. 


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